How JCU Used Twitter To Raise Over $4,000 In One Day

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Again and again, I hear nonprofit fundraising professionals wonder if investing valuable time and resources in social media is really worth it.  My response:  “It IS!!!”

You don’t need to dedicate a staff member to cultivate social media.  You don’t need a huge marketing department.  What you do need is a little creativity and the buy-in of your board members, staff & volunteers.

The last thing you want to do is continually bombard your social media audience with requests for support, but creating a social media “event” is a great way to generate buzz and bring in donations.

Take this example from John Carroll University.  On May 8thCash Mob , 2012, the university embarked on its first ever social media fundraising campaign, “for Carroll”.   A date was selected and a dedicated landing page was created to collect and process donations.  Mike Richwalsky, Director of Marketing Services, says they approached the event with no set expectations; this was a test and a learning experience.

Richwalsky says, “One of the big things we learned was to identify certain people among our followers as influencers and really reach out them before the event and get them on board so when we started tweeting about the event, they’d join in and amplify what we were doing. That really helped us reach beyond our normal audience.”

At the end of the day, the university generated local media buzz around its event and walked away with over $4,000 in donations.    This is a great result from a campaign that required very little investment in terms of time or resources!

Things to keep in mind as you prepare for a social media fundraising event:

  1. Coordinate a social media event to generate buzz among constituents and the media.
  2. Know your influencers and make sure they are on board and ready to support you.
  3. Prepare a dedicated landing page on your website so you can accurately report on the results of the campaign.
  4. Identify  and broadcast a hashtag for your event.
  5. Thank supporters publicly as donations come in.
  6. Report your results after the event is over.


Have you run a social media fundraising event?  What did you do?  What was the result?